Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Recreational Facilities Committee Update

Since it is expected that the Recreational Facilities Committee will present a Report in May or June, I wanted to outline for you the process followed so far and inform you about next steps.

As you may recall, in 2007 Council hired a consultant to solicit significant public input to help determine the long-term needs for significant Town facilities – like the Arena, Fire Stations, Library Branches, Town Hall, and Old Town Hall. Presented in April 2008, that report called for (among other things) a joint facility to replace and enlarge Fire Station #2 and the Maple Acre Library, a new twin-pad arena in Town or in partnership with Welland, and to keep the campus-like feel of Fonthill’s downtown with the continued presence of the Town Hall and the Fonthill Library Branch.

As a result, in August of 2008 Council created three special facilities committees – one for Maple Acre Library branch, one for Pelham Fire Station #2, and one for Recreation Facilities – to make recommendations on the construction / replacement of Town facilities. Working to plan and develop various facilities, each committee includes Town Councillors, myself (as an ex officio member) and appropriate staff.

The Recreational Facilities Committee began meeting in November 2008. Its broad mandate includes reviewing the future of all Town recreational facilities – arena, outdoor pool, sports fields, and parks. The committee assembled all recommendations from the many previous recreational studies and began work to determine the Town's short- and long-term recreational needs.

In July 2009 the Committee tabled an Interim Report that contained many recommendations. Council received the report and directed staff to hire an architect to develop a functional analysis and to refine the capital and operating costs based on the recommendations.

You see, the Committee was “at a point where additional information [was] required from outside resources, namely local planning and architectural services” so that they could finish their work.

This architectural work is to culminate in a report that details the space requirements, capital costs, operating costs, potential site plan, most-suitable location, timeframes, and energy efficiency opportunities for a modern, community-centre type of recreational facility for immediate and future requirements for Pelham. The architects held a couple of workshop sessions for user-groups in October and January, and presented a draft report to the Committee in early March.

While this analysis was to be completed by now, the architect continues to work on it. I am told to expect the Report in May or June – first to the Committee, and then to Council. From there, Council will have to review the Report and decide on next steps.